As told below in the video via CBS Boston, a man named John Miles was out walking with his dog (actually his adult son’s dog) when they were both struck by a car. The incident occurred in Dorchester, Massachusetts. The man suffered two broken legs, a broken arm and facial fractures. The dog, a Beagle/Husky mix named Lucy, reportedly suffered fractures in her leg and a torn ACL. The man was immobile after the accident. Lucy the dog limped her way to the nearest place with people: a dental office, where she stood and barked furiously until people came out to see what was going on. Help was called and Lucy made her way back to Mr. Miles and stayed by his side. The man had no ID, but emergency workers were able to identify him by tracing Lucy’s ID tags.
Mr. Miles had surgery yesterday for his injuries. Lucy the dog is having surgery today. She reportedly has been missing John very much, going to his study and whining.
More from the MSPCA at this link, and donations towards Lucy’s veterinary care are being accepted through the MSPCA at this link.
In Salem, Oregon, a deaf English Springer Spaniel named Bonnie is credited by her owner, a gentleman named Dan Strasser, for alerting him to the intrusion of a burglar into his home in the early hours.
Sometime around 6 a.m., reportedly, he was woken by the sound of Bonnie running around in the living room. It being an odd time for such activity, he thought perhaps a skunk or some such had gotten into the house and Bonnie was giving chase. Entering the living room, he caught a glimpse of a human figure running past, clutching Mr. Strasser’s laptop computer. Bonnie had evidently smelled and/or seen the visitor and decided it was play time—hence her running around. The intruder, in his alarm, failed to run out the back door, and instead ran through a door that led into the garage, and effectively a dead-end. At this point it could have gotten ugly. The intruder (allegedly a man named Thomas Lowell, who has been charged with a parole violation, burglary, criminal mischief, and unlawful possession of methamphetamine) reportedly brandished a knife and might have decided to fight his way out. Fortunately, Mr. Strasser had retrieved a firearm which he owned, and was thus able to persuade the intruder to remain in place until the police arrived to take him away. Continue reading Even Deaf Dogs Have Their Day→
Last year, a photograph of a man named John cradling his aging dog while floating in Lake Superior went mega-viral. (It’s the photo at the top of their Facebook page.) That dog, a twenty-year old shepherd mix named Schoep, finally passed on yesterday. The story behind the photo, for those who missed it, is that due to Schoep’s arthritis, about the only place he could truly relax was in water, while floating. So his owner would take him to that lake as often as possible and just hold him in his arms and allow Schoep to relax and doze. He had gotten Schoep from a shelter as a puppy. Continue reading The Passing of Old Schoep→
The scenes of apocalyptic devastation after yesterday’s tornado outbreak in Oklahoma are heartbreaking and horrifying. Yet, so many of the victims, when spoken to amid the torn up debris of everything they owned, are themselves being incredibly inspirational, using their voices to thank God for their survival instead of cursing the fate that put their houses in the path of the tornado.
And a video that is no doubt being circulated around the world right this minute is the one below, of one elderly lady in the ripped-up town of Moore who describes taking shelter in her safest room, the bathroom, with her dog on her lap. The tornado hit and everything was blown to pieces. Somehow she survived, though her dog disappeared and she assumes it—or its body—is under the rubble. She is speaking bravely and matter-of-factly—even wryly—about all of this on camera to a TV reporter when that reporter apparently sees something move, and says, “The dog!” (It seems way too pat, of-course, but if this elderly lady is an actor then I’m the president of the United States.)
As she pulls her dog from the debris and he manages to stand up on his four legs, she whispers, “Thank you, God.” Then she tells the reporter and the watching world, “Well, I thought God just answered one prayer, ‘Let me be OK,’ but he answered both of them …” Continue reading Oklahoma Tornado→
It’s not the first ever story of a dog who takes it upon himself (or herself in this case) to guide another dog who has gone blind, but there’s something about this one that is particularly touching. I guess it’s the fact that they were picked up off the street as strays. They are an odd couple indeed: a blind husky with bulging glaucoma eyes, and the little terrier mix that stays with him at all times, cries for him when he is taken away and protects him when people approach too quickly. They’ve given the name of Isabella to the guiding terrier, and the husky is being called Isaac. Video below via News10: Continue reading A Blind Husky and His Mixed Terrier Guide Dog→
Reports indicate that the famous driving dogs of New Zealand passed their driving test on live TV, although I watched the long-form footage of that event and found it a little underwhelming. Much more fun is some edited stuff, perhaps from another day, embedded below, of my favorite of the three mutts, Porter, going through his paces. He is beyond cool.
Although this whole thing has grown into a massive worldwide internet and TV sensation, it’s worth remembering the small idea behind it. The local SPCA wanted to attract some publicity to promote the idea that your average mutt from the pound is a worthy creature, full of potential and deserving of a good home.
I’d always kind of thought everybody knew this—that mutts are great, and the pound or shelter is a great place to get a dog for very little money—but about eight years ago when we got our mutt Billie at the city pound, and began taking her around to socialize in her New York City neighborhood, I quickly found out that the great majority of people do not think first of going to the shelter to get a dog. Most people, it seems, have very clear ideas of what breed they want, and many are willing to pay quite high amounts to get it. And then, in recent years, we’ve had the phenomenon of “designer mutts,” where one established breed is deliberately mixed with another to achieve a desired result, such as a Cockapoo (Cocker-Spaniel and Poodle) or a Puggle (Pug and Beagle).
I’m not going to be morally-preachy about it: people ought to get the kind of dog they want, and take good care of it. That’s the bottom line. But just as the SPCA in New Zealand was trying to do, it’s good to talk up some of the advantages of mutts (though occasionally shelter dogs are not mutts: pure-bred pooches get abandoned too).
(1) Mutts, like Porter in the video above, are cool because they are unique. People are always stopping on the street to ask what kind of dog our Billie is. After years of igniting back and forth conversations about possible mixes, I’ve come up with the perfect answer: She is one of a kind. And she is, and so is any true mutt.
(2) Mutts are unpredictable, and that makes them a joy. You can’t look up in a book what your dog’s personality traits and tendencies might be. You can only watch and wait as they unfold. (Of-course I know pure-breds also have unique and individual personalities, but a mutt is naturally more of a wild-card.)
(3) Mutts are devoid of any sword-of-Damocles trait or threat that hangs over most pure-bred dogs. Most established breeds have known weaknesses or tendencies towards specific health problems. With a mutt, there are two arguable advantages: (a) You don’t know what weaknesses there may be, so you don’t live in dread of them and (b) You can hope that in whatever genetic mixing that has gone on, any dangerous recessive genes from one particular breed have been overwritten. Some people seriously argue that mutts are healthier by nature. I don’t know if that’s true. I only thank God that our mutt is about to turn nine-years-old and is as healthy and full of vigor as when she was a one-year-old. Continue reading Dogs “pass driving test” in New Zealand (and notes on the value of mutts)→
In March of 2011, in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, Lance Corporal Liam Tasker was killed by enemy fire. Lance Corporal Tasker was a specialized dog handler, and he was well known for being utterly inseparable from his arms-and-explosives-sniffing dog Theo, a springer spaniel who has been credited with more successful finds during his time in Afghanistan than any other dog with the British military, and is believed by so doing to have saved many human lives. The relationship between the two was such that Lance Corporal Tasker would prefer to consume his meals outdoors, with Theo, rather than leaving his trusted dog outside while he ate in the canteen.
Several hours after witnessing Lance Corporal Tasker being killed by enemy fire, the springer spaniel Theo was overcome by seizures, and died despite veterinary treatment.
The medal which has been awarded to Theo posthumously is one which is called the Dickin Medal (after its founder) and is also known as the animals’ Victoria Cross. It originated in the Second World War and has been used since then to recognize twenty-eight dogs, one cat, three horses and thirty-two WWII carrier pigeons.
May both of these heroes of the war in Afghanistan rest in peace. (Photo via Britain’s Ministry of Defence.)
A dog in the west African nation of Ghana is being credited with saving the life of a baby abandoned under a bridge in a place called Winkongo. The dog had wandered off the farm where it lived, and its owner had organized a search party to find it. From this report:
Searchers spent most of the night tracking the hound through nearby fields and woods, and came upon the unlikely pair quite some time later; finally locating him under the bridge near the farm he calls home, they were surprised to find the dog curled around a human infant.
A story from Shirley, Massachusetts: Lilly, a pit bull saved from the pound to be a companion to a woman suffering from alcoholism, pulled or pushed her unconscious owner from the path of a freight train that was frantically braking to avoid hitting the two. (Video of Lilly in recovery below.) The engineer of the train saw the dog trying to get the woman off the tracks, but couldn’t stop the train in time. The woman, thanks to the dog’s efforts, was uninjured. The dog suffered injuries to her foot and pelvis, and has had to have one of her front legs amputated.
Although a resident of Manhattan, I rarely have cause to go down to the Financial District near the lower tip of the island. As a general rule, there are only two reasons to go to that part of town: (1) just to look at things, i.e. as a tourist and (2) to go to work, if you should happen to work there. These days there’s a third reason, of-course: to protest the stinking capitalists (which many are currently doing by camping out in a public plaza nearby and stinking back at them).
Today (a Sunday) I thought I’d go down there for reason #1: tourism. Mainly, it’s been so long since I’ve been there that I wanted to see in person how far construction on the “Freedom Tower” had come. However, we’re not supposed to call it the “Freedom Tower” anymore, since that apparently scared people—and isn’t freedom a scary thing?— so it’s just “One World Trade Center” now. In any case, the last time I had been down there there was virtually nothing above ground. It has pained many of us for the past decade to have a big hole in the ground down at Ground Zero, and I wanted to replace that mental image. Continue reading A Visit to Wall Street and Environs→